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'An insurrection;' Utah politicians condemn violent protests at US Capitol

Romney calls violence "an insurrection" incited by Trump
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Posted at 2:34 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 21:33:19-05

WASHINGTON — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney called today's violent protests in the US Capitol where one woman died "an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States."

Romney's comments on President Trump's supporters storming the building Wednesday came after many of his political colleagues from around the state chimed in on the unprecedented events.

Some of politicians who supported President Trump's unending efforts to overturn the election are now condemning many of his supporters for their violent occupation of the US Capitol.

But it was Romney's statement that offered the harshest take on the president and those elected officials who have backed him up.

"We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning," wrote Romney. "Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy."

"They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy."

The counting of the Electoral College votes was delayed after protesters breached security at the Capitol, but Romney says their mission will not be canceled.

"We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?

The Utah delegation was in Washington today, and some in the Senate chambers, when the order was given to evacuate to safety after protesters breached security and entered the building.

Newly-elected Rep. Burgess Owens, who was called a "star" by Trump and was one of two Utah congressman to say they would challenge the results of the Electoral College votes, reacted to the violence on Twitter.

"My team and I are safe and beyond grateful for the service of Capitol Police," wrote Owens. "I am deeply saddened by what is happening right now. Americans are better than this. Senseless violence is NEVER okay. We have to do better."

Rep. Chris Stewart, who also promised to challenge the Electoral College votes that would confirm Joe Biden as president, also spoke out on social media.

"Protesters who are breaking windows, threatening violence, and accosting police are behaving inexcusably. It is un-American. This must stop now!" tweeted Stewart.

In a live interview with FOX 13, Rep. John Curtis said he was safe, but did not release where he was at the time due to security concerns.

"I think the most troubling thing was that the Capitol was breached," said Curtis. "We all operate under this sense of security that now seems a little bit false."

Curtis previously joined Sen. Mitt Romney is declaring that he would not contest the election.

While not naming Trump, Curtis seemed to insinuate that the president's continued anger and false allegations may have sparked the violence in Washington, DC.

"There's a great deal of frustration that tempers were allowed to escalate like this, that they were actually encouraged. It's not how we do things in the United States of America." said Curtis.

"This is not America today. This does not represent us. People from all walks, no matter how you feel about the president should push back on this and let everybody know that this is not acceptable."

In a tweet posted in the afternoon, Utah senior Senator Mike Lee assured everyone that he and his staff were safe, while also calling out the protesters.

"The violence at the United States Capitol is completely unacceptable. It is time for the protesters to disperse." wrote Lee.

In a video statement posted on Twitter, Governor Spencer Cox encouraged Utahns to participate in peaceful protests and condemned violence happening around the Nation.

“To any of you out there who are considering joining those protests I ask you to please do so but please do so in the right way. To do so loud to do so proud but to do so in a respectful manner and by no means resort to violence or property destruction.”

Cox also emphasized his belief that now is the time for Utah to set an example for the rest of the country.

“I’m calling on all of you to speak out to speak up and to let your family, your friends, your neighbors know this is unacceptable. We are better than this in Utah, we are better than this in America.”

Earlier Wednesday, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes called the protests "unacceptable," and said there was no place for violence in politics.

"I condemn, in the strongest terms, the acts of violence at our nation’s Capital Building today. I pray for the safety of law enforcement working to keep order, for legislators of all parties as well as other civilians who are protesting peacefully. There is no place for violence in our political discourse, even over the most serious issues and disagreements. We are a nation of laws. This is not how Conservatives and Republicans behave. This is absolutely unacceptable," wrote Reyes.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson also issued a written statement, adding that she is "pleased" congress decided to move forward with the counting of the electoral college Wednesday night.

“For five years I worked in the United States Capitol and traversed the same hallways and staircases that today were overrun by rioters and extremists. The building itself is a powerful and historic symbol of unity and the resilience of our nation. For generations, we have fought to preserve the foundational tenets of our democracy, literally within the walls of a building that today was breached by violent and disgraceful means. I am both angry and sad thinking of the congressional staff who honor that building and endeavor to preserve our institutions each day. It is time we live up to the promise of our founding, to create “a more perfect union.” I am pleased Congress has decided to press on tonight and am hopeful that we will restore civility and honor in the days to come and restore faith in our institutions, our government, and the rule of law.”

In a Facebook post, Utah State Auditor John Dougall called President Trump "seditious and treasonous."

"My duty is to defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, not to defend any specific individual. Trump is seditious and treasonous. He needs to resign or be officially removed from office. Let there be no doubt of my opinion," Dougall wrote.